IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies after head injury

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – IndyCar driver Justin Wilson has died from a head injury he suffered during a race Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.

Wilson was injured when hit by a large piece of debris that broke off a car in the crash-filled race.

His family released a statement shortly after the news of his death broke:

With deep sadness, the parents of Justin Wilson, Keith and Lynne, his wife Julia, and his brother Stefan share the news that Justin passed away today after succumbing to injuries suffered during the Verizon IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 23.

Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.

The family would like to thank the staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital,  Pocono Raceway, Andretti Autosport, and the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as the entire racing community for the amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wilson Children’s Fund care of INDYCAR.

Wilson Children’s Fund

IndyCar released the information on Wilson's condition Sunday night, saying he was in a coma and was undergoing further evaluation at Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown. The announcement of his death came on Monday evening.

Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race, finishing ahead of Josef Newgarden and IncyCar points leader Pablo Montoya.

Soon after the accident, tweets from Wilson’s IndyCar family started flooding in.

Oriol Servia tweeted, “Justin is by far the nicest person,” and if you search #PrayersForJustin, you’ll find a stream of similar messages from drivers, friends and fans.

Sage Karam was leading the race when he hit the outside wall and debris from his car went flying into the air and onto the race track. Wilson was hit in the head with a part from Karam’s car. His car veered to the left and hit the inside wall. Safety workers pulled Wilson from the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda and he was airlifted to the hospital.

Wilson lives in a Denver suburb with his wife and two children. His wife flew to Pennsylvania Sunday night. His brother, Stefan Wilson, also a race car driver, flew there from Indianapolis.

As usual in times like this, the racing community is coming together. Tony Stewart donated his plane to get Wilson’s family by his side.

Graham Rahal tweeted, “Racing is a family. But it never ceases to amaze me at how incredible this family is in time of difficulty.”

Wilson, 37, was a native of Sheffield, England.

He had seven wins and 27 podiums since 2004 in his U.S. open-wheel career. He had been unsigned at the start of the 2015 season after most recently driving for Dale Coyne Racing. Andretti Autosport signed him to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May and later announced he would drive the No. 25 for the final five races of the season.